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Is there a place called purgatory ? Can we extend our help to those who are in purgatory ?

Purgatory often imagined as a place, is actually a condition. Someone who dies in God’s grace but who still needs purification before he can see God face to face is in purgatory.

                           When peter had betrayed Jesus, the Lord turned around and looked at peter: “and peter went out and wept bitterly” – a feeling like being in purgatory. Just such a purgatory probably awaits most of us at the moment of our death: the Lord looks at us full of love and we experience burning shame and painful remorse over our wicked or merely unloving behavior. Only after this purifying pain will be capable of meeting his loving gaze in untroubled heavenly joy.

We can extend our help to such persons. Since all those who are baptized into Christ form one communion and are united with one another, the living can also help the souls of the faithful departed in purgatory. When a man is dead, he can do nothing more for himself. The time of active probation is past. But we can do something for the faithful departed in purgatory. Our life extends into the afterlife. Through our fasting, prayers and good works but especially through the celebration of Holy Eucharist, we can obtain grace for the departed.(You cat-159,160)

Pornography and related websites has become more common.

These days watching pornography and related websites has become more common. Even the children have got access to it. How it becomes a sin? How it affects the dignity of a human person ?

Ans. someone who misuses love by detaching human sexuality from the intimacy of a committed, loving relationship between two spouses and turns it into commercial goods sins seriously. Anyone who produces, buys, or consumes pornographic materials violates human dignity and seduces others to sin.

          Pornography is a degenerate form of prostitution, for here too there is the suggestion that man can get ‘love’ for money. Models and actors, producers and distributors are equally involved in this serious offence against charity and human dignity. Anyone who consumes pornographic materials, visits pornographic websites or participates in pornographic events finds himself in the wider circle of prostitution and supports the dirty, billion-dollar business of selling sex. (You cat-412)

          People who work in the media should always be aware of the fact that their productions have an educational effect. Young people must constantly examine themselves to determine whether they are able to use the media freely with critical distance or whether they have become addicted to particular media. Every person is responsible for his soul. Those who consume violence, hatred and pornography in the media become spiritually deadened and do themselves harm.

(You cat-460) 

Scriptural clarity about the ‘virginity’ of our Holy Mother

Many of the Pentecostal churches say that,  Holy Mary has got children other than Jesus and propagate that she is not a virgin as the catholic church teaching and not to be respected in that sense. Can we compromise with their arguments ? Do we have the scriptural clarity about the ‘virginity’ of our Holy Mother ?

Ans. Let us examine the fact in the light of the Word of God. The Pentecostal churches teach that Mary had other children other than Jesus. Let’s examine the verses that speak about the “brothers” of Christ which created scandal to the Jews. “So that they were astounded and sad, ‘where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?’ And they took offence at him.”(Mt 13:54-56, Mk 6:2-3)

                 “While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him” (Mt12:46-47, Mk3: 31-32, Lk8:19-20)

Let’s examine what kind of brothers they are?

In the letter to Galatians, we see Jacob who is one among the brothers of Jesus. “But I did not see any other apostle except James the lord’s brother”. (Gal1:19-20). Now let’s examine who is James among apostles, the brother of Jesus? “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first Simon also known as peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee and his brother John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Mathew the tax collector, James son of Alpheus …….”(Mt10:2-4, Mk3:15-19, Lk6:13-15)

There were two Jacobs among the apostles. One is the brother of John and the son of Zebedee-salomi couples named great Jacob. The second one is the son of Alpheus named small Jacob. There is no other Jacob among the apostles. And the father of both these Jacobs is not Joseph.

                       From these verses we could very well understand that who is the father of Jacob the brother of Jesus? Now let’s try to find out his mother’s name.

“Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Mt27:55-57)

“There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome…….” (Mk16:40-41)

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices so that they might go and anoint him.”(Mk16:1)

“Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.”(Mk15:47)

“Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.”(Lk24:10)

                               From these verses it is clear that the mother of Jacob, Jose, Simon and Jude is Mary, the wife of alpaus. “Meanwhile standing near the cross of Jesus was his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clophas and Mary Magdalene.” (Jn19:25)

How the mother of Jacob becomes the sister of the mother of Jesus. Those who know the history very well know that Anna and Joachim had no other sons or daughters other than Mary, the mother of Jesus. When we go through the apocryphal writings, we see that the Alpheus is the brother of Joseph, the upbringing father of Jesus. If the brothers and sisters of our parents have children, don’t we consider them as brothers and sisters? In that sense Jesus had ‘brothers and sisters’. It does not mean that Mary had other children than Jesus. When we humbly receive the word of God, Holy Spirit will inspire us to accept the truth.

Position of the church in homosexuality

Is homosexuality a sin ? What is the position of the church in such related matters ? These days some people argue for homosexual marriages and in some countries like America it has been legally accepted. In this context can we support such marriages ? What should be our attitude towards such persons ?

Ans. ty a sin? What is the position of the church in such related matters? These days some people argue for homosexual marriages and in some countries like America it has been legally accepted. In this context can we support such marriages? What should be our attitude towards such persons?The church believes that, in the order of creation, man and woman are designed to need each other’s complementary traits and to enter into a mutual relationship so as to give life to children. That is why homosexual practices cannot be approved by the church. Christians owe all persons respect and love, however regardless of their sexual orientation because all people are respected and loved by God. (Ccc.2358-2359)
There is no man on earth who is descended from a union of a mother and a father. Therefore it is painful experience for many homosexually oriented people that they do not feel erotically attracted to the opposite sex and necessarily miss out on the physical fruitfulness of the union between man and woman according to human nature and the divine order of creation. Nevertheless God often leads souls to himself along unusual paths; a lack, a loss, or a wound- if accepted and affirmed – can become a springboard for throwing oneself in to the arms of God: the God who brings good out of everything and whose greatness can be discovered in redemption even more than in creation.(Youcat-65) God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodily way as well. The church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings. They should not be discriminated against because of that. At the same time the church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation. (Youcat-415)